Success & Motivation: What Will You Remember When You are 90 ?

Unique opportunities. How many of them will you have in your life ? 1 ? None ? 100s ? The thing about life is that its impossible to know. You never know when something you never even considered could happen, will happen.

As something you has been incredibly blessed, let me just tell you that the things at the top of my list are not numbers or dollars.  They are my family and the things I had fun doing.

A lot of people think Im crazy, or chasing publicity, or whatever. I don’t care what they think. Before I do any of the many things that I get asked to do, and that I think might be fun, I have one simple question i ask myself.  When I hopefully turn 90 and look back at my life , would I regret having done it, or not having done it ?

Before I started Motley’s Pub with Evan Williams when we were at Indiana University and I wasnt even old enough to drink, it was the question i asked myself. Before we sold MicroSolutions. Before I spent the money to buy a Lifetime Pass on American Airlines when I was 29 and then retired to travel the word.  Before I bought the Mavs. Before I did The Benefactor on ABC, or Dancing with the Stars, or Survivor and RAW this coming monday nite, or any number of other fun and amazing things I have done. Its the question I asked myself. To me its part of being successful.

When Im 90, will I smile when i think back, or will I frown and regret not having done it.  IMHO,  Success is about making your life a special version of unique that fits who you are. Not what other people want you to be.

28 thoughts on “Success & Motivation: What Will You Remember When You are 90 ?

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  2. i think it is a good idea.

    Comment by nikehandbags -

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  4. When I am 90 (if I ever reach that level, that in itself is a feat worth remembering:)) I want to look back at a life full of adventure. I want to see how a young guy full of vigor brought down wall after wall (obstacles) and won the challenges he set up for himself. A young guy who finally reached 90, still as full of life as when he started the journey. With a soul richer than ever and a bank account fatter than ever before.

    Without goals, challenges, obstacles or mountains (call it what you like) then what is life worth? Nothing. That is what makes life so interesting. The ups and downs. Sure, we all condemn stuff when things fuck up (I surely do) and we all love it when we succeed and people love us and all this. But living in a neutral room would be the worst thing for me to look back at when I reach 90 (if ever). Living in neutral mode has to be the most wasteful thing anyone can do. We are all going to die anyway (and we only have one life, we only got this shot at making a dent in this world) so why save the powder? Go all in buddies and do it with style;).

    Comment by startuppro -

  5. Mark I have followed the many paths you have taken from sports and cable to reinventing what movies can be made and shown without the limits of the status qua. I played with everything , I even got a project to you that was a solid yes until the other parties involved made some silly mistakes . I am know at the age of 39 and have skills and experience that can place me in many rooms , CEO or MD depending on the momentum I can create . I am now aware that failure is an option , I have failed as big as I possibly could and no matter how I spin it , it’s failure . I don’t feel bad ( bullshit stupid and greedy fucked me ) I don’t mind failing as long as I can look at the next opportunity or problem ( same word in Japanese) and do something as if I have no doubt in my capability . If I make it to 90 and look back , broke , beaten and without a single goal enjoyed I will find you and smack the hell out of you . My point is I have made many things happen and the karma seemed to need more notary and legal clarification so being a failure is my strength and if I ever wonder what choice to make it will be the one that I want to remember as my true instinct and the one my lawyer dips in titanium and freezes like Walt Disney.

    Comment by notjesus -

  6. Existentialism per Satre is refined to the comment, “Existence precedes and rules essence”. I argue that poor old Satre did not understand Quantum Mechanics which displaces the dimensionality of existence and leaves nothing but essence. when you are ninety that is about all you will have ~ that which drove the fire of your life…it’s always better to burn than to fade away and yet so few people get it. It has absolutely nothing to do with money.

    Comment by thebigpraetor -

  7. Hirecules. You sound like a man who has had life taken over him, and not the other way around. I don’t mean that disrepectfully etieher. Sure Mark was lucky at an early age even though he worked hard and maybe more importantly to some, intelligently. He had laser focus and was extrememly stubborn when it came to work. Unlike many of us, he didn’t give up at the first sight of failure. Successful individuals just keep going, they’re too focused on the work instead of the result and I guess that’s where Mark got the inspiration to write this post.

    He’s saying that when we make decisions keep in mind of the individual looking back at his life since everything in life will end up being a memory (It reminds me of the Samuel Beckett Play called Krapps Last Tape. Check it out, it’s amazing!). Like the above poster mentioned, enjoying life isn’t always about money. There are millions of other people in worse conditions who have a happiness we dream of experiencing.

    Mark interesting thing. I think every decision you make leads to that one big unique decision that you remember when you’re 90. And since every decision happens at every moment in life aren’t you also living in the moment?


    Comment by antonchan -

  8. My beautiful wife died of cancer on September 2. Now I’m raising a 5 year old son on my own. She fought like a lioness for over a year and generally felt well—-well enough to travel, spend time with our son, etc. She was vibrant and wonderful in life and dignified and courageous in death. The whole episode taught us that the things we think are most important—the things we argue and stress over—are, many times, indeed the “small stuff.” Things we take for granted—health, family, sunsets—all the corny things I won’t bother mentioning—these are the things we can’t live without. As for siezing opportunities—Mark, as a long suffering Pittsburgh Pirates fan, I hope the planets align, the dots connect, the storm is perfect—and I hope that somehow, an “offer” (even a “forced offer”) for you to own the Pirates, materializes.

    Comment by dcangelo -

  9. This is so very very true. My grandfather recently celebrated his 93rd birthday and he echoed some very similar sentiments. He fought in two wars because he felt it was the right thing to do. He married a woman he loved, adopted children who were as close to him as his natural ones, and truly lived life in a fashion guaranteeing there were no regrets for things missed or things he did.

    So bravo for the thought, and keep living your life that way. It’s really the only way to do it properly.

    Comment by creatorraven -

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  11. The best memories will be the good times we’ve shared with those who’ve matter most.

    Comment by darryl3 -

  12. It’s sad and unfortunate that people assume and make judgements about others whom they haven’t met personally.

    I come from the middle-class from a far eastern, poor and developing country. I moved to North America to fulfill the American dream, with no regrets. I know the values and what matters most in life is not the money, but family. I have a lovely wife and two wonderful daughters, they are my wealth.

    The only reason why I said “you need numbers and dollars too to make things happen” is because of my personal circumstance.

    How I wish I could repay my parents’ good deeds in adopting me as a son. They have provided me the best of living conditions when I was young, the best in what education can offer by sending me to the best schools. They are my angels from heaven. And repay doesn’t mean a whole large sum of money. But somehow something that would show them how I care like taking say a year-off or even a three-month off from work to be at their side because my dad has cancer. Or send them money for medicines. They are a 16-hour flight away!

    But I can’t do that right now in the midst of this recession that hit us, my work hours have been cut and obviously may pay has been cut. Looking for a new career for close to a year now but to no avail. Launched my career pre-screening website but it has not made money yet.

    There was nothing wrong when I said Mark had it easier. It’s just plain simple fact. And I salute Mark for not forgetting the true values despite financial success.

    So “to poo poo the previous poster” or “the guy…obviously doesn’t get it”?

    Well, this is America, you have the right to say your opinion.

    Merry Christmas to All!

    Comment by hirecules -

  13. I love how you maximize your life. I’ve watched this about you and it’s awesome. It’s possible that when you’re 90 and looking back, you’ll actually be more concerned about looking forward. I hope you leave a great legacy and move on to an even greater eternity.

    Comment by Steve Chesnut -

  14. Is that the purpose of life? To achieve the pinnacle of self-amusement?

    What about leaving this world having made a meaningful impact on the lives of others?

    Encouraging people to chase their dreams = inherently good.

    But encouraging others to chase dollars = bad.

    Can’t take that fiat currency with you beyond the grave…

    Comment by captiousnut -

  15. Well said Mark. It’s easy to lose sight of this sometimes. I’m neck deep in a startup, and one of the most stressful (and exciting) times of my life. I started taking a few minutes every morning for gratitude and my life feels richer than it ever has, no matter what my bank account says. The guy that commented earlier that you somehow have it easier obviously doesn’t get it. Some of the unhappiest people I know are the “richest”.


    Comment by bidmodo -

  16. Hello Mark,

    I would have guessed that those things are very important to you, based on the little that I have seen of you on TV. You have reached a level of success that very few people ever will during their lifetime. Congrats to your success and the fact that you did not lose site of the most important things in life!

    I have a wonderful family and caring friends that support me. I am very thankful for that every day of my life.

    If I leave this world today, there are plenty of things that I wish I could have experienced. I try hard to make sure that if my goals are not reached, it is not b/c of lack of effort, time and time again.

    I want to know that I truly tried everything possible to launch my company.

    If you would be so kind as to respond to the following question or even better write an article on it that would be awesome!

    “What is the best way to find investors for a company?”

    I know that with the right people and investment with my company, Ballpark Signs could help save millions for retail franchise companies within the sign and sports marketing industries.

    Please take 2 minutes of your time to think about this…

    Retail franchise companies spend millions every year on signage. They also spend millions on sports marketing within multiple levels of sports. My company will bridge the gap for them and save them time & money. While also bringing in new sponsors for the sporting events.

    I would be honored if you would review my business plan and let me know your honest opinion on it. This might sound crazy, but just having that is ALMOST as good as if your were an investor. If you like what my company brings to the table, then chances are there will be a very long line of team owners feeling the same way. 😉

    My email is

    Thanks & Happy Holidays to all that visit this blog!!!

    Comment by ballparkmark -

  17. Hey Mark,

    Good post as always.

    Just to poo poo the previous poster, I think one thing I am going to remember when(if) I am ninety is that yesterday I spent the most wonderful day I have had in a long time on the warm beach with the woman who I think could be my best friend and future wife.

    Didn’t cost me a cent.

    A great man once said life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.



    PS – Also checkout this is if you ever read these comments,

    Its my web aggregator for all things sports, news and odds. Was doing some work on it and this URL came up on the random search. Made me think of you.

    Comment by lukebyrne -

  18. Sure it was fun, Mark, but you had the resources to do everything you can, to buy the Mavs, to spend the money to buy a lifetime pass on American Airlines, etc.

    What about those people who are not as wealthy as you are (nothing wrong with being wealthy). You can tell me that you had an opportunity and you made it happen, but it was simply because you had the resources.

    How about those people who have family as their top priority on their list just like you, but on the other hand, they simply could not make ends meet? I am talking about people who create opportunities for themselves, have great business ideas, have had worked smart and hard, have had two jobs, have had great education, but simply have lucked out?

    Right now I’m 51 and I sometimes look back at my life. Hey, I appreciate the tweet of the birds, the breeze by the beach, the sight of the almighty ocean and feel blessed . But the other side tells me I never had the resources enough to repay (not literally) people who have been good to me. I never had the resoures to help other people in need. These things are also on top of my list, but I simply do not have the resources.

    You need numbers and dollars too to make things happen.

    Comment by hirecules -

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  21. Think beyond the 90’s. According to the world conference on anti-aging I recently attended in Las Vegas, a healthy fifty-something male will most likely see 120. The new book Transcend, by MIT graduate Ray Kurzweil, discusses exponential growth in advancements in the world of anti-aging within the next 5-10 years. At 90, things are just going to get cookin!

    Comment by karenksn -

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  23. 90 is a good number; I picture 80 or 60 if i’m a smoker. Word comes to worst, I’m going to check 1 book out at the library and skateboard it home. I won’t regret that when I’m 90.

    Comment by growhappy -

  24. I think fear (of failure, embarrassment, etc) is the main reason people DON’T act on those opportunities. It’s the same with entrepreneurship: there are loads of great ideas out there, it’s the people that have the courage to act on them that bring them to reality….

    Comment by marketingmutiny -

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  27. Thank you. It is great of you to share this not only to your family but to us.

    Comment by musicandbounce -

  28. Funny, but this is exactly the question I used to ask myself, and as a result I ended up having some really great memories without any regrets.

    Time to get back to that and stop coasting in neutral.. thanks Mark!

    Comment by chrisyoura -

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